Perfect Mom

The Pressures of Being a “Perfect Mom” and Information Overload

Author & researcher Dr. Margaret Quinlan shares insights on this age-old feeling nearly every mom experiences 

by Steve Silvestro, MD  @zendocsteve


Nod right now if this has ever happened to you:

You’re in the grocery store checkout line, pregnant, and a random stranger decides it’s okay to touch your belly.


You encounter someone who has absolutely no medical training at all, but who is a self-proclaimed expert in something they passionately argue is crucial to the health of your family, even though doctors think it’s backward.


No matter what choice you make in caring for yourself or your family, there is always someone in your life who gives you the side eye or makes a comment that leaves you feeling like you’re doing it wrong.

Well, you’re not alone.

And not only are you not alone right now—you’re experiencing challenges that mothers have faced for 100 years or more.

That’s the subject of You’re Doing It Wrong: Mothering, Media, and Medical Expertise, co-authored by Bethany Johnson and my guest in this episode, Dr. Margaret Quinlan.

Dr. Quinlan is an associate professor in the department of communication studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She explores how communication creates, resists and transforms knowledges about bodies. She critiques power structures in order to empower individuals who are marginalized inside and outside of healthcare systems. She authored approximately 40 journal articles, 17 book chapters and co-produced documentaries in a regional Emmy award-winning series.

And in our conversation, we covered a range of topics from her book, touching on issues that affect every mom out there.

Take a listen in your favorite podcast app or in the player below:


In This Episode, We Talk About:

  • Why the pressure of living up to “good mom” standards is so universal
  • How the source of parenting information has changed over the past 100 years
  • The subtle ways we put pressure on women even before they get pregnant
  • How the words we use to describe issues that arise in pregnancy & delivery can place unnecessary feelings of blame on mothers
  • How pregnancy is a “performance” in today’s society
  • The fact that so much advice and care has long been directed toward white, cis, middle and upper class women throughout history—and how that impacts people who don’t fit those labels
  • The rise of “lay experts,” and how anyone who is confident can present themselves as a self-described expert
  • How to navigate the abundance of lay experts on social media and online
  • What doctors should be doing to better help parents get good information and care

Scroll up to the player above to listen, or hear it on your favorite podcast app!

Tag me on FacebookInstagramTwitter, or LinkedIn, and let me know what you think about my conversation with Dr. Maggie Quinlan!

Important Resources for You to Use:

Dr. Quinlan’s Book

  • You’re Doing It Wrong! Mothering, Media, and Medical Expertise can be purchased here. Use the code 02AAAA17 for 30% off.

Dr. Quinlan’s Information

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